Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Resilient Valletta make progress in Champions League
Jul 17, 2019
Posted in:
General
BOV Premier League
PHOTOS: Joe Borg/MFA
PHOTOS: Joe Borg/MFA

  • PHOTOS: Joe Borg/MFA
  • PHOTOS: Joe Borg/MFA
  • PHOTOS: Joe Borg/MFA

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2019/20 

FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND (Second Leg)

 

VALLETTA     1
F91 DUDELANGE 1

(Aggregate 3-3; Valletta through on the away goal rule)

 

Valletta made Malta proud on Tuesday night as they secured a berth in the second qualifying round of the Champions League, a 1-1 draw against Luxembourg champions F91 Dudelange at the Centenary Stadium sending them through on away goals.
 


The gutsy comeback in the 2-2 draw in last week’s first leg at the Stade Josy Barthel paved the way for Valletta’s qualification with the match finishing 3-3 on aggregate. Backed by their numerous fans on Tuesday, Valletta, led by coach Darren Abdilla, had the better of the first-half exchanges, going ahead through Mario Fontanella’s tap-in.

 

F91 Dudelange upped the pressure after equalising in the second half but Valletta showed resilience to keep their opponents at bay, also creating a host of counter-attacks which were not exploited.

 

The visiting team had a couple of early chances though Dominik Stolz and Corenthyn Lavie but their efforts missed the target.

 

Valletta took the initiative as the first half progressed. They claimed a penalty when Italian striker Mario Fontanella appeared to have been pushed by two Dudelange defenders but the referee saw nothing wrong.

 

Ten minutes from half-time, Valletta forged ahead. Kyrian Nwoko’s low shot was touched on to the post by Dudelange goalkeeper Tim Kips but Fontanella pounced on the loose ball to fire home.

 

Late in the first half, Fontanella had another chance to extend Valletta’s lead but his effort, following a pass from Kevin Tulimieri, was stopped by Kips.

 

Ten minutes into the second half, Nwoko intercepted a pass before releasing Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre but the latter’s effort was off target.

 

Dudelange revived their hopes close to the hour mark. Goalkeeper Henry Bonello fisted the ball away from a corner but Mario Pokar was on hand to hit home with the ball taking a deflection on its way into the net.

 

The Luxembourg champions now pressed for a second goal, Bonello denying them when beating away a strong drive from Mehdi Kirch.

 

At the other end, a good shot by Nicholas Pulis was saved by Kips.

 

As expected, Dudelange pushed forward in the final minutes but Valletta held firm to seal their passage to the second qualifying round of the Champions League.

 

FERENCVAROS OR LUDOGORETS NEXT

 

Valletta will meet Hungary’s Ferencvaros in the next round. Ferencvaros beat Bulgarian champions Ludogorets 3-2 in the second leg, played in Razgrad on Wednesday, to secure a 5-3 aggregate victory.

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